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10 Jobs That Could Be Facing Extinction

10 Jobs That Could Be Facing Extinction
Credit: Steven Good/Shutterstock

Facing unfavorable hiring projections, positions as mail carriers, word processors and meter readers are among the jobs facing the grimmest futures, new research finds.

For the second year in a row, mail carrier tops CareerCast's list of the most endangered jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 28 percent decline over the next eight years in employment of postal workers. That translates into 136,000 fewer mail carrier jobs by 2024.

"The field began changing in the early part of the 2000s, as more Americans began communicating through email and text messaging, abandoning the traditional letter when reaching out to friends, family and colleagues," Kyle Kensing, online content editor for CareerCast, said in a statement. "However, the bigger impact on the postal field's hiring outlook for the future is the automation of sorting and processing."

The impact of automation is a major reason many jobs appear on this year's most endangered list. For example, meter reader is in the top three for the second consecutive year, in part, because automation now allows utility companies to gauge use remotely. [See Related Story: The 25 Highest-Paying Jobs for 2016]

The position of disc jockey, which is projected to see an 11 percent drop in growth over the next eight years, is also feeling the effects of automation. Many radio stations are now using pre-programmed playlists that don't require the input of disc jockeys.

Having already seen a loss of jobs as the industry made drastic switches from print to online mediums, the position of newspaper reporter is now facing a new threat. CareerCast notes that automated publishing may contribute to an even greater decline in the number of newspaper reporters.  

"For example, Associated Press uses an automated system that can publish stories without human intervention," CareerCast wrote in the research.

Consumer habits and technological advances are other major reasons why some jobs ended up on this year's endangered list. Online shopping has contributed to the declining outlook for jewelers, seamstresses and tailors, all jobs appearing among the top 10 for the second year in a row.

CareerCast based its ranking on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' projected hiring outlook for the next seven years, as well as the changing economic landscape.

Here are the 10 most endangered jobs of 2016, and their projected growth outlook:

  1. Mail carrier: minus 28 percent
  2. Typist/word processor: minus 18 percent
  3. Meter reader: minus 15 percent
  4. Disc jockey: minus 11 percent
  5. Jeweler: minus 11 percent
  6. Insurance underwriter: minus 11 percent
  7. Seamstress/tailor: minus 9 percent
  8. Broadcaster: minus 9 percent
  9. Newspaper reporter: minus 8 percent
  10. Computer programmer: minus 8 percent

The study's authors advised those who currently have, or are interested in, one of these careers to have a viable secondary option to help protect themselves against changes in the employment market.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.